Sony PS4 announced for Christmas 2013
The Sony PlayStation 4 will hit shelves this year – Holiday 2013 – but the look of the device is still firmly under wraps, with no hardware being revealed at its launch event in New York beyond the new DualShock 4 controller and a stereo camera.
Sony PS4 launch – hardware and specs
However, the PS4 isn't a total mystery – Sony was plenty forthcoming with features and specs for its next-gen gaming console. The PlayStation 4 will pack in an X86 processor with eight CPU cores, an "enhanced PC GPU" and 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
What does that mean for gamers?
Sony claims an "exponential leap over its predecessors" in terms of processing power, with the PS4 able to suspend and resume gameplay simply by hitting the power button; the console will boot up immediately when you switch it on and restore your game state. The PlayStation 4 will also be able to upload and download games in the background – even when the power button's off – while you'll be able to play downloaded games as soon as you purchase them, as the game files are downloading.
Sony PS4 launch – DualShock 4 controller
The one piece of PS4 hardware that Sony was willing to share was the DualShock 4 controller. Closely resembling the layout of the current PS3 controller, the DualShock 4 adds enhanced rumble capabilities, a Share button and touch pad along with a headphone jack and light bar. The latter lets the PS4's stereo camera track and identify the controller in 3D – the console will also play nice with existing PlayStation Move controllers.
Sony PS4 launch – Sharing is caring
The DualShock 4 controller's Share button is central to Sony's bid to position the PS4 as a social gaming machine. Your PlayStation 4 profile will be tied to your real-world identity – Sony's announced Facebook and UStream integration for the console – with a tap of the Share button letting you broadcast your games in real-time to your friends. They'll be able to view your game "over your shoulder" – doubtless to offer friendly advice and not to belittle your abilities.
If you're finding a particular bit of the game challenging, you'll be able to pass control onto a friend. Other possibilities include your friends intervening in your games, manipulating events rather like a Dungeons & Dragons games master by adding new items and changing the layout of a level.
Sony PS4 launch – PS Vita Remote Play
As widely anticipated, the PS4 will be compatible with the PS Vita handheld console – you'll be able to stream games direct to your PS Vita, as demoed above using cartoony adventure Knack. Take that, Wii U! Sony has also promised integrated phone and tablet apps – with one launch title, DriveClub, letting you create and post racing challenges to players worldwide using your mobile device, before taking part in them with your own racing club.
Sony PS4 launch – verdict
Although Sony has played its cards close to its chest regarding the look of the PS4, that's really the least important aspect of the console (as the PS3 Super Slim has ably demonstrated). At first glance, the PS4 looks to be a confident riposte to the Nintendo Wii U, with an array of social gaming features that look set to – potentially – enthrall and irritate in equal measure. Microsoft, the ball's in your court – roll on the Xbox 720.
For the full review go to www.stuff.tv/news
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